Garden Awe

Years ago, a couple of gardeners planted coontie in the pollinator section of the Community Garden. It is the host plant for the Atala butterfly which is a Species of Extreme Concern in Florida. We saw a few last year, but this year we had a population explosion! There were a couple of hundred! Caterpillars ate the coontie until it almost disappeared! The remarkable thing about them is the eggs hatch at the same time, the caterpillars make their cocoons at the same time, and the butterflies emerge with in a few days of each other. It was beautiful to watch them floating in the garden and Food Forest. The Ackee trees were flowering at the time and the Atala butterflies covered the trees for a couple of days.

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